Today was the first session of our P.D. Programme (2017). The 17-year-old Mahak had encouraged her 15-year-old cousin brother, Dhruv, and her own sister, Kanak, 13,  to join the programme. 

God makes each one of us different… rather special. Kanak finds it  difficult to open up… She is extremely shy and nervous. So, today, when I was encouraging our young-ones to tell us their names – while seated – Kanak’s name passed just like a ship passing by the night. “Beta, we did not get it,” I gently prodded, “Tell it loudly and clearly again.”

“I am KANAK,” the little lady managed to gather more stream to tell us who she was!

“That’s good,” I praised her for her courage, “Your self-confidence starts with your own name… believe in it… Believe that you are good… You have the right to be yourself.”

I show our young-ones several inspiring videos. I have kept ready many gripping stories about Malala, the young Pakistani girl, now 19, who goes around the world, meeting heads of nations speaking from every august podium… just to propagate one cause: education for girl child!

Malala’s father, a teacher, ran a small school in her village, Swat valley. Malala, then barely 13, was very fond of books and education. When, overnight, Taliban invaded the valley and took control of the it, the gunmen destroyed homes, shops, schools, temples and  churches, all alike. The school run by Malala’s father was turned into a rubble in a wink... and they all fled for their lives… But, Malala refused to bow down before the gunmen… She refused to give up her love for books and education… One afternoon, in October, 2012, the gunmen entered the school-bus, in which Malala and her friends were commuting,  screaming, “Who is Malala?”

“I am Malala,” replied the brave girl!

Malala was shot at point-blank… Three bullets… one of them passed a few threads above her eyes… yet, the young lady survived miraculously…

The rest is history!

Malala inspired the entire world with her grit and sole mission: education to every girl child and gender equality.

At 17, Malala became the youngest Nobel Prize recipient. Nation after nation recognized Malala for her courage and mission… “I am Malala” became the symbol of human dignity and self-confidence… Yes, later, became the title of her sensational book, too!

Yes, just as I told, this morning, our own 13-year-old in the class, “Say it loudly and proudly… I am KANAK!!!”

There is a whole world of truth packed in that one little assertion: “I am KANAK.” Yes, if we do not have faith in our own name, our own identity and self-worth… how can we ever feel confident in life?

“Start with your own name,” I keep reminding our young Malalas and Kanaks, “Say I am MALALA… I am KANAK.”

Today is Holy Thursday. The Passion of the Christ is about to begin…

Jesus Christ’s last hours are approaching… He knows what was coming upon Him… the torture, humiliation, Crucifixion…. He is human here on this earth and, so, he is afraid and left in turmoil… His courage has waned… doubt has come to overtake Him… He has become weak, vulnerable… He goes into the lonely garden of Gethsemane and prays to His Father… again and again, “Father do away this Test from me… but, if it is Your wish, Thy will be done.”

It is only after this powerful prayer of ‘acceptance of God’s will’, that Jesus finds in his soul the courage to face the blood-thirsty mob who has come with torches, lanterns and weapons… “Who is it you want?” He asks looking into their eyes… “Jesus of Nazareth,” they reply… “Here is He,” Jesus stretches his arms to offer Himself… The Holy Books says, “They drew back and fell to the ground,” on hearing it. So, He asks them once again, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they reply… “I told you that I am he!”

And, they capture Jesus and take Him away for what was to be fulfilled!

Fear is there in each one of us… It was there in little girl Malala… It was there in the Son of God, too… It is there in you, me and little Kanak… All that we need to learn is, to go on our knees and pray for the courage to say…

"I am KANAK...

and here I AM.”


Pic.: Avinash Mantri

Video: YouTube


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